Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō

Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō

: "This page refers to the Japanese aircraft carrier. For the African instrument, see Hosho (instrument)"

"Hōshō" (Japanese: 鳳翔, meaning "flying phoenix") became the first flat-deck aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1921, and was the first purpose-designed aircraft carrier in the world to be commissioned. ["The Imperial Japanese Navy was a pioneer in naval aviation, having commissioned the world's first built-from-the-keel-up carrier, the "Hosho"." [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/japan/ijn.htm Source] .]

Her predecessors in the Imperial Japanese Navy were seaplane carriers such as the "Wakamiya" (converted in 1920 to an aircraft carrier with forward launch platform), or the "Notoro".


The hull of the "Hōshō" was based on a cruiser design, but it was not a conversion. She was built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. "Hōshō" was commissioned on 27 December 1922, thirteen months before the Royal Navy's first purpose-built carrier "Hermes", which was designed before "Hōshō". The "Hōshō" however was originally conceived as a mixed aircraft carrier and seaplane tender and only during construction was her design modified to a dedicated carrier. She was the first purpose-designed aircraft carrier, but not the first purpose-designed dedicated aircraft carrier. (See "aircraft carrier" for more on the type's history).

Her design was originally based on a cruiser-style hull, a flight deck with a depressed fore-part to accelerate lift-off, a starboard island, and three starboard funnels that were reclinable during flight operations. After trials she was improved by removing the island and flattening the flight deck, giving her a flush-deck design.


Being the first of its kind in the navy, "Hōshō" was actively used to develop the aircraft carrier operational methods and tactics of the Japanese Navy during the 1920s. She was preceded by the 1913 early aircraft carrier "Wakamiya", which contributed to the development of the carrier techniques used in the "Hōshō".

She served during the Shanghai Incident (bombing of Shanghai on January 28 1932) and Sino-Japanese War in 1937. In August-December 1937, "Hōshō" supported land operations of the Japanese Army in China, as part of Carrier Division 1 with "Ryūjō". Her aircraft complement consisted of nine Nakajima A2N fighters and six Yokosuka B3Y1 attack planes. [http://members.cox.net/bosco.bina1/afd/frameset.htm?http%3A//members.cox.net/bosco.bina1/afd/mainpage.htm]

By the beginning of World War II, "Hōshō" had been superseded by other models: she was too small and too slow to accommodate the newest types of carrier planes such as the Mitsubishi Zero. She saw action however during the battle of Midway in June 1942, offering modest air support to the main fleet. Her aircraft complement consisted of eight Yokosuka B4Y1 'Jean' torpedo bombers. [http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq81-6.htm]

For most of the postwar years, the assumption was made in English-language publications that the ship had been equipped with a 'modern' aircraft complement by the time of the Midway operation, on the basis of minimal translations published in English. However, beginning in the 1980s English-language researchers realized that this was a bad assumption, as Japanese official histories and air orders of battle began to appear. It has now become clear that at the time of Midway, "Hōshō" still carried a complement of the fixed landing gear biplane torpedo planes, the Yokosuka B4Y1 'Jean'. It was one of these aircraft which took the photos of the burning, drifting Hiryu in the late afternoon of June 41942.

Efforts were made to lengthen and widen her flight deck, but the overhang weakened her stability and ocean-going capability. She was relegated to training duty in Japan's Inland Sea after 1943.

Post-War fate

After the war, she was used as a transport to repatriate Japanese personnel from abroad until June 1946. Hōshō was one of four carriers of the Japanese Navy to survive the war, but would be scrapped in 1947.

"Hōshō" air group:
*1932: 9 fighters A1N1 (Type 3), 3 bombers B1M2 (Type 13), 3 reconnaissance aircraft C1M (Type 10) (15 aircraft)
*1937: 9 fighters A4N1 (Type 95), 6 bombers B3Y1 (Type 92) (15)
*1941: 11 fighters A5M4 'Claude', 8 bombers B4Y1 'Jean' (19)
*1942: 8 bombers B4Y1 'Jean' (8)

Commanding Officers

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Ryutaro Kaizu - 13 November 1921 - 27 December 1922

Capt. Jiro Toshima - 27 December 1922 - 1 April 1923

Capt. Heizaburo Fukuyo - 1 April 1923 - 1 December 1923

Capt. Ryutaro Kaizu - 1 December 1923 - 15 April 1925

Capt. Seizaburo Kobayashi - 15 April 1925 - 1 November 1926

Capt. Giichiro Kawamura - 1 November 1926 - 1 November 1927

Capt. Kiyoshi Kitagawa - 1 November 1927 - 10 December 1928

Capt. Goro Hara - 10 December 1928 - 30 November 1929

Capt. Hideho Wada - 30 November 1929 - 1 December 1930

Capt. Eijiro Kondo - 1 December 1930 - 14 November 1931

Capt. Rokuro Horie - 14 November 1931 - 1 December 1932

Capt. Teizo Mitsunami - 1 December 1932 - 20 October 1933

Capt. Rokukichi Takeda - 20 October 1933 - 15 November 1934

Capt. Seigo Yamagata - 15 November 1934 - 12 June 1935

Capt. Kokichi Terada - 12 June 1935 - 15 November 1935

Capt. Munetaka Sakamaki - 15 November 1935 - 16 November 1936

Capt. Rynosuke Kusaka - 16 November 1936 - 16 October 1937

Capt. Takatsugu Jojima - 16 October 1937 - 15 November 1939

Capt. Kaku Harada - 15 November 1939 - 20 August 1940

Capt. Ushie Sugimoto - 20 August 1940 - 11 November 1940

Capt. Tomozo Kikuchi - 11 November 1940 - 5 September 1941

Capt. Kaoru Umetani - 5 September 1941 - 1 August 1942

Capt. Bunjiro Yamaguchi - 1 August 1942 - 15 November 1942

Capt. Katsuji Hattori - 15 November 1942 - 5 July 1943

Capt. Takeo Kaizuka - 5 July 1943 - 18 December 1943

Capt. Yoshi Matsuura - 18 December 1943 - 1 March 1944

Capt. Kiyoshi Koda - 1 March 1944 - 6 July 1944

Capt. Yujiro Takarada - 6 July 1944 - 5 March 1945

Capt. Shuichi Osuga - 5 March 1945 - 18 May 1945

Capt. Keiji Furutani - 18 May 1945 - 20 September 1945

Capt. Kunizo Kanaoka - 20 September 1945 - 31 August 1946


External links

* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-h/hosho2.htm Naval Historical Center Images of the "Hōshō"]

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